Tampa's lucky streak continues with two grants from the EPA
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week awarded Tampa two $200,000 grants for its "brownfield" program, which seeks to help reclaim and redevelop sites whose reuse might be complicated by actual or perceived environmental contamination.
The $400,000 will be used to assess properties throughout the city that may be contaminated by hazardous waste or had petroleum storage on site.
"Developers, I'm sending the message to you out there that if you have sites that have the potential to be contaminated or have some petroleum sites (and) want to redevelop them and utilize these funds to complete your (assessments), our doors will be open," Ed Johnson, the city's redevelopment manager for East Tampa, told the City Council on Thursday.
Tampa has enjoyed a run of good fortune winning federal grants from President Barack Obama's administration. It has received $105 million for the Interstate 4-to-the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway connector, $10.9 million for the Riverwalk and $30 million for the Encore Tampa redevelopment project. The Encore money was one of just four Choice Neighborhoods grants awarded nationwide.
By comparison, the two new EPA grants are small, but they make up about a fifth of the $2 million the city has been awarded for its brownfields program since 1999.
The city will know it has really hit the jackpot if the EPA ever restores the $1.25 million that it cut in 2011 to help dredge residential canals in the West Shore area. Despite the loss of federal funds, the City Council voted to move ahead with that $2.8 million project in January.